Community welcomes San Elijo Hills Elementary

By: STACY BRANDT – NCT Staff Writer
SAN MARCOS —- First-grader Maysen Hendricks danced around San Elijo Hills Elementary School on Saturday, getting an idea of where everything is at the new campus by participating in a building scavenger hunt.”It’s fun,” Maysen said, as she explored the campus.
Maysen and her parents were among hundreds of families that checked out the school at a special sneak-a-peek event two days before classes begin.
“It’s wonderful to get the community involved and introduce everyone to the new campus,” said her mom, Monica Hendricks. “It’s a great idea.”The event was organized by the school’s Parent-Teacher Organization. PTO co-President Jenny Orlando said she was expecting at least 800 people between 3 and 6 p.m. Saturday.”It’s just to show off the school,” Orlando said. “We’re really proud of the school.”The PTO raised about $1,000 to sponsor the event, but expects to get more than that back through raffles and games offered Saturday, Orlando said.Principal Lynda McDonnell said the event was a way to acclimate the children to their new campus and to welcome community members, whether they have children attending the school or not.”Today’s all about celebrating that we’re here and we’re ready,” she said. “The community is a big part of this school, so we wanted to give the school to the community first.”Roughly 720 students are expected to start school at the campus Monday.The 59,000-square-foot, 34-classroom campus, which cost the district roughly $21 million, was completed last month directly across the street from San Elijo Middle School.Before the new elementary school was built, the first- through fifth-grade students shared the campus across the street with more than 900 students in sixth, seventh and eighth grade.Although the elementary and middle school will no longer share space, they will continue to share the same school colors and mascot and have the same tan brick exterior with metal awnings.As parents walked up to the administrative office at the school, they got their first look at what will eventually be more than 320 bricks engraved with personal messages. Last school year, parents and teachers bought and engraved the bricks.The school will emphasize technology and will feature collaborative working spaces that will allow the 32 teachers to communicate with each other more easily.”It’s awesome,” said Tamara Langmead, a parent who saw the campus for the first time at Saturday’s event. “It’s advanced with all of the computers and things, even in the kindergarten classrooms.”Langmead and her husband said they brought their daughter to the school to help her familiarize herself with the campus before her first day of kindergarten.Eric and Heather Kindt, who recently moved to San Elijo Hills, said they brought their three children to the event for the same reason.”It’s cool because that way on the first day of school, they’re not scrambling, trying to figure out where everything is; they’re already familiar,” Heather Kindt said. “I think it’s great, a great idea.”

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